"Bridges has helped me get my life back in order and accomplish some of the goals I've always wanted."
"Bridges has taught me how to live in a whole new sober way!"
"A chance to prove myself, a chance to better myself, a chance to change my life."
Bridges is an intensive, outpatient day treatment program focused on drug offenders to help them end the cycle of drug abuse and crime. Spearheaded by the Superior Court of San Mateo County, this county-wide collaborative program was created in 1999 to make a difference in the lives of addicted offenders who had given up hope of change. In San Mateo County, successful completion of the Bridges program will satisfy a mandate from the Court to enter and complete a residential treatment program as a condition of probation.
The program staff and volunteers are selected for their special skills in working with the targeted population and are specially trained. The intensive approach to treatment requires small caseloads and strong environmental controls such as drug testing and electronic monitoring. The program effectiveness lies, in part, to the commitment of both staff and participants in this one–year program.
- Eligible for probation in San Mateo County
- History of alcohol and drug dependency
- No more than one current pending or one prior conviction involving sale or possession of controlled substances for sales (“low level” and determined to support their own drug habit)
- No more than one current pending or one prior conviction for a misdemeanor crime of violence.
- Not be required to register as a sex or gang registrant (as a result of current or past criminal history)
During the program, the participant frequently appears before the Court for progress reviews. During all phases of the program, participants must submit to frequent scheduled chemical testing, as well as random weekend chemical testing. Participants must be agreeable to electronic monitoring and program curfews. Each participant must contribute a total of 40 hours of community service before they are eligible to move into the final phase of the program. Treatment sessions and vocational classes are conducted in English. The following phases describe the program:
- Phase I - In Phase I, the clients attend the Bridges program Monday through Friday from 8:30am - 3:30pm and Tuesday, 12:00pm - 3:30pm. During the day the participants attend classes and other intervention courses. Most participants are on electronic monitoring for a minimum of 90 days during this phase and appear for court reviews one time per month. Phase I lasts approximately 4 months.
- Phase II, Part I - In Phase II, Part I, the clients are expected to be employed and continue their treatment programs at least twice per week. Clients are placed on an intensive supervision probation schedule and continue to submit to scheduled and random chemical testing. Along with participating in therapy two times a week, participants appear before the court for review one time per month. This phase lasts approximately 4 months.
- Phase II, Part II - Participants will move into the final 4 months of the program after they have completed 40 hours of community service. They are required to participate in therapy once a week, meet with their Deputy Probation Officer two to three times per week and continue to appear for monthly reviews before the court. Participants continue to submit to chemical testing. During this phase, any treatment or specialized support still needed is provided to clients on an individualized basis, with participants returning to court for reviews typically every eight weeks.
- Graduation and aftercare services - Upon the successful completion of the program phases, the participant is no longer required to appear before the Court for progress reviews. During their final court appearance, all fines and fees with the exception of restitution are ordered deleted by the Court and they are eligible to take part in a formal graduation ceremony. They are required to attend monthly aftercare groups and will continue to submit to scheduled and random chemical testing for a minimum of six months.
Major Program Interventions
- Intense probation supervision
- Reasoning and rehabilitation skills
- Drug and alcohol treatment (currently provided by StarVista)
- Vocational skills/Resume writing/Job search (currently provided by Sequoia District Adult School)
- Computer use training (currently provided by Sequoia District Adult School)
- Life skills (currently provided by various volunteers)